Horsie by Homeshake album review by Giliann Karon for Northern Transmissions. The Toronto multi-artist's album is now out via Dine Alone




Homeshake long outlived his stint as “Mac Demarco’s touring guitarist.” While yes, Peter Sagar is the Slaughter Beach, Dog to Demarco’s Modern Baseball, the Better Call Saul to his former bandmate’s Breaking Bad, enough time has passed for his wide-ranging career and hallucinogenic jangle pop to stand on its own.

On his sixth album Horsie – his second album of 2024 following March’s CD Wallet – the Toronto-based artist employs moody synths and hypnagogic drones that explore anxiety surrounding his return to live performance. He lacks complete privacy, so he retreats to his home studio and shrouds himself in his personal sonic world. Distorted vocals bring a sense of control and peace. Each track settles comfortably into the background like Sagar seeks to do himself.

In Sagar’s nervous universe, self-preservation and critical acclaim are mutually exclusive. The music videos for his trilogy of singles “Nothing 2 See, “Simple,” and “Empty Lot,” show paranoia that evolves into irritability and dissociation. Throughout the feverous videos, he hides from crowds at shows and dreams of solitude, then steals a car in a panic. A threatening man on a Harley Davidson confronts him before he stumbles upon an endless limousine in the desert.

Self-assured opener “Ravioli” introduces twinkling piano and silvery bass, replacing the syrupy reverb on In The Shower and Midnight Snack. On his definition of “stripped down,” he leans into sparse instrumentals and loose melodies. It’s one of the album’s more cogent and thorough tracks. Standout “Blunt Talk” wobbles and shakes, harkening back to his Fresh Air glory days. On a vulnerable and subdued record, his sedative textures feel like a visit from an old friend.

“Dinner Plate” similarly returns to basics. Lyrics that recount sending photos of a dinner plate to loved one to feel their presence get lost in sludgy guitar and heavy voice modulation, a staple throughout his 12-year-long solo career. Listeners must work to make sense of the tender and domestic story amidst the obfuscation. Especially for those who cling to their phones to feel connected, dissecting this song’s meaning will be rewarded. A burst of a silvery guitar solo breaks up the album’s homogeny and jerks the listener out of a stoned stupor.

If Homeshake wanted to provide an easygoing soundtrack, Horsie has served its intended purpose. It doesn’t necessitate active listening, but clearly Sagar isn’t seeking to be the center of attention. Longtime listeners will know exactly what they’re getting themselves into, much like on his prior work. It’s a safe bet for wine and weed nights, but someone will still subtly try to Shazam it.

Order Horsie by Homeshake HERE


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